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NOAA’s GOES-16 Weather Satellite Captures Its First Images of Earth

NOAA’s GOES-16 (formerly known as GOES-R), the first spacecraft in a new series of NASA-built advanced geostationary weather satellites, has sent the first high-resolution images from its Advanced Baseline Imager.

This composite color full-disk visible image of the Western Hemisphere was captured from NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite on Jan. 15, 2017. Image credit: NOAA / NASA.

This composite color full-disk visible image of the Western Hemisphere was captured from NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite on Jan. 15, 2017. Image credit: NOAA / NASA.

“Seeing these first images from GOES-16 is a foundational moment for the team of scientists and engineers who worked to bring the satellite to launch and are now poised to explore new weather forecasting possibilities with this data and imagery,” said Dr. Stephen Volz, NOAA’s assistant administrator for Satellite and Information Services.

“The incredibly sharp images are everything we hoped for based on our tests before launch.”

“We look forward to exploiting these new images, along with our partners in the meteorology community, to make the most of this fantastic new satellite.”

The Saharan Dust Layer can be discerned in the far right edge of this image of Earth. This dry air from the coast of Africa can have impacts on tropical cyclone intensity and formation. Image credit: NOAA / NASA.

The Saharan Dust Layer can be discerned in the far right edge of this image of Earth. This dry air from the coast of Africa can have impacts on tropical cyclone intensity and formation. Image credit: NOAA / NASA.

NASA launched GOES-R on November 19, 2016 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and it was renamed GOES-16 when it achieved orbit.

GOES-16 is now observing the planet from an equatorial view approximately 22,300 miles above the surface.

The satellite’s Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI) instrument can provide a full image of Earth every 15 min and one of the continental U.S. every 5 min.

It has the ability to target regional areas where severe weather, hurricanes, wildfires, volcanic eruptions or other high-impact environmental phenomena are occurring as often as every 30 seconds.

The ABI covers the Earth five-times faster than NOAA’s current GOES imagers and has four times greater spatial resolution, allowing meteorologists to see smaller features of the Earth’s atmosphere and weather systems.

From its central location, GOES-16 captured this image of the west coast of the United States and the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Image credit: NOAA / NASA.

From its central location, GOES-16 captured this image of the west coast of the United States and the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. Image credit: NOAA / NASA.

“High resolution imagery from GOES-16 will provide sharper and more detailed views of hazardous weather systems and reveal features that previous instruments might have missed, and the rapid-refresh of these images will allow us to monitor and predict the evolution of these systems more accurately,” said Dr. Louis Uccellini, director of NOAA’s National Weather Service.

“As a result, forecasters can issue more accurate, timely, and reliable watches and warnings, and provide better information to emergency managers and other decision makers.”

To see a gallery of GOES-16’s first images, visit NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service website.

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